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Buhari and Mugabe and not a resignation between them

Buhari and Mugabe – two of a kind

What do President Muhammadu Buhari and President Robert Mugabe have in common?  Mugabe is 93 and Buhari is 74 – officially, but nobody is quite sure if that is his real age.

So both are well past pension age, but continue trying to defy nature and refuse to retire.  But another thing they have in common right now is that they are in sick beds away from home.  Buhari in London for over two months and Mugabe in Singapore since last Friday.

The UK’s Guardian newspaper reports that the opposition in Zimbabwe claimed that Mugabe is ruling his country from his hospital bed.  The opposition spokesman said Singapore “is literally his home now” and “the country is stagnant today”.  He could have been talking about Nigeria.

Mugabe is also reported to have spent $50m on foreign travel last year – more than double the amount allocated to upgrading hospitals and health centres in his country.  Buhari loves his foreign travels too – until this year in which illness has restricted him to his London hideout.  No one is quite sure how much his foreign trips have cost Nigeria in the last two years.  However, he allocated 3bn naira ($9.5m) last year to the presidential clinic in Abuja, but neither him nor his Chief of Staff Abba Kyari used it when they were ill, preferring UK healthcare to Nigerian healthscare.

Mugabe’s wife Grace has said that her husband should run for president again in the next election  in 2018 – even if he dies during the contest.  If that happens, she said she will push his corpse around in a wheelchair.  Mugabe’s party Zanu-PF have already endorsed him for reelection.   It hasn’t come to that yet in Nigeria.  The next presidential (s)election is in 2019 and the chairman of Buhari’s All Progressives Congress (APC), John Oyegun, reportedly said that the president should step down after this term.

But his wife Aisha, who like Grace Mugabe, is much younger than her husband, has used Facebook to warn off “hyena’s and the jackals” who “will be sent out of the kingdom”.  She was apparently referring to those plotting to take her husband’s place in his absence.

It must all feel like Animal Farm for Zimbabweans and Nigerians who know too well that “some animals are more equal than others” in their respective countries.

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